Manager Spotlight offers a small insight into the heads of incredible managers. This week in the spotlight is MMF Board Member Kerry Harvey-Piper!
How long have you worked in Management?
I’ve been a manager for 12 years and run independent label Red Grape Music.
Who do you manage now?
Currently I manage folk icon Peggy Seeger, Icelandic folk pop artist Hafdis Huld and the singer songwriter Luke Concannon (ex-Nizlopi). I also manage producer Calum MacColl, executive coach Stephen Daltrey and the catalogue of folk singer Ewan MacColl.
Where did you find your first client and what inspired you to take them on?
I’ve been Hafdis Huld’s label for the whole 15 years of her solo career and around 12 years ago her previous manager moved on, leaving her without management. I offered to interim manage her until we found her a ‘proper’ new manager, but we never did and I’ve been her manager and label ever since. Like many managers, I’ve learned everything ‘on the job’, making mistakes along the way but Hafdis and I have a great working relationship so being both her manager and her label has worked out really well.
What’s a good/bad day at work look like for you?
I had a great day last week when I heard I’d managed to secure a decent sized grant for one of my artists meaning we now have a marketing budget for a new album. The worst day of my management career was when my close friend and client Colin Vearncombe (aka Black) died as a result of a car accident on the way to a writing session. Days don’t get any worse than that and it affected so many people and fans around the world. In comparison, any day is a good day and I’m grateful for each one.
What has been the highlight of your management career to date?
So many of them – I absolutely love my job and it feels a privilege to do what I do. One highlight that really sticks in my mind was persuading one of my favourite bands of all times, The Bible, to reform for a 25th anniversary tour. I managed the band reunion, booked the tour and acted as tour manager. I remember standing at the sound desk as the first gig got underway, hearing songs I’d loved for a very long time and realising that if I hadn’t driven the project, it wouldn’t have happened. It’s rare that I allow myself a moment to pat myself on the back, but that was one of them.
What do you think are the big challenges for a manager in 2020?
Despite this being a terrible year for live music, I don’t think the challenges are that different; managers are brilliant at being agile, creative, innovative and dynamic so we just have to keep being that but more so. The difference this year is that we’re probably having to be more supportive to the artists especially in the areas of mental health for them and for us. Keeping artists and ourselves positive and moving forward is probably more crucial than ever this year.
What music are you currently listening to?
I have six children and they’re always alerting me to new music as well as old music that might have passed me by. Every time I take on a new intern the first thing I ask them to do is to make me a playlist of their current favourites so I’ve discovered a huge amount of music from them too. I’ve also taken to listening to classical music late at night to help me wind down after a stressful day.